Twenty-seven companies in the insurance and long-term savings sector have signed up to the Association of British Insurers' flexible-working charter.
The Making Flexible Work Charter launched today (April 28), with companies that have signed up committing to make the majority of roles open to flexible working, including part-time and job-share arrangements, as well as publishing details of their various flexible working policies.
The charter also requires the businesses to put in place processes and guidance to support and promote different forms of flexible working.
The 27 firms which have already signed up to this charter have promised to meet these conditions within 12 months.
Signatories include Aviva, Nest, Phoenix Group and Royal London.
The ABI said the commitment to this charter will allow the industry to attract and retain the very best talent while supporting more women to progress into senior roles.
Yvonne Braun, executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion at the ABI, said the charter “ushers in a flexible working revolution” in the long term savings and insurance industry.
She said the initiative was about addressing gender equality and supporting new parents.
Braun said: “The majority of women are at entry level and then there is a steep drop off once you get to director level.
“The reason for that is because of the ‘motherhood penalty’ where women have children and take on the bulk of the caring responsibility. As a result they take on part time work and then get stuck in terms of pay progression and promotion.
“Having a way of not getting stuck is what we are trying to achieve. If they job share, they can still work in demanding full time roles but get the experience and progress throughout and this will get more females at a fairly senior level.”
But she reiterated the initiative was aimed to help everyone, not only mothers or women.
Braun added: “It will benefit new dads in exactly the same way as new mothers, as well as people who want to do voluntary work or people who have a disability and cannot work full time.”
The trade body has also published research today showing that, out of 31 of its members, women made up only 27 per cent of directors and 24 per cent in executive teams.
It found 61 per cent of insurance and long-term savings firms offered job sharing opportunities and while all firms offered part-time roles, only 15 per cent of employees took this up and of those who did, only 13 per cent were men.
The average median gender pay gap across the group of companies remained at 23 per cent.
Amanda Blanc, Treasury’s Women in Finance Champion and Group CEO of Aviva, said: “There are still too many barriers which stop women progressing in insurance. As an industry we need to do more, and do it quicker, to make the changes we all want to see.